Owning an Asus Chromebook Flip myself (a great machine) I was really excited when I discovered that android apps were coming to Chromebooks. Having installed custom roms on past phones I was not afraid to enter the developer channel (the least stable, most experimental and cutting edge version of the browser. Channel explanations). I enabled the dev channel and have been playing with android apps on my Chromebook for a couple of months. Now that it is out of beta on the Asus Chromebook Flip, Asus Chromebook R11 and Google Chromebook Pixel (2015) I wanted to share what I have learnt so far.Read More
After cracking the screen of my MotoG, an awesome phone with few limitations, I was reluctant to pay to fix it as the cost would have been the same as paying off the handset portion of my contract. I therefore had a decision to make. I really wanted something likely to bring lollipop quickly and narrowed it down to the One, or the Nexus 6. Sadly, neither were readily available.
The OnePlus One is by no means a new phone anymore. Since the initial announcement back in January 2014, the actual release and subsequent availability has not been straight forward. The enthusiasm and desire that greeted the phone was surely unpredictable by anyone, and as a result the first official Cyanogenmod phone is still only available to purchase if you have an invitation (with the exception of occasional limited time windows). The specifications are good though, and having rooted all my previous phones I was well aware of Cyanogenmod and knew I liked the software running on the One. £269 for th 64GB option? It will take some beating.
Coming from the MotoG, I was coming from a phone very close to a pure Nexus experience and was equally confident I would like the software running on the Nexus 6. Packing top end specifications it is clearly designed as an example of a great android experience. £549 for the 64GB option is a lot of money, but is similarly priced to high end, branded android phones. Sadly it hadn’t been released.
My criteria for a new phone is fairly simple. I like the larger screen of my old note. I want a better camera than the motoG. I want android updates faster than Samsung can provide. Both these phones should fit the bill.
A quick look at the specs and there isn’t a great deal between them. The nexus has a larger and better resolution screen, but the slightly larger battery does not compensate and loses it some battery life over the One. The slightly higher spec on the processor, battery and screen size do not amount to £280 worth of added value.
As a result I decided to pursue the elusive OnePlus invitation. The difference in price can not be justified and even when in stock the Nexus would be hard to get. Harder even than a phone only available to those with an invitation it seems….
Decision made. Phone purchased and delivered. More to follow.Read More
What’s it about?
The premise is a simple one. It is a slot machine simulator. It is styled after a particular type of machine that can be seen in penny arcades around UK seaside holiday resorts, but is not the sort of machine you see in your local pub.
The game looks OK. It is bright and colourful, but nothing amazing. There is no complication to it, and perhaps more time could have been spent drawing a variety of machines to add to the longevity.
As the only gameplay option is to hit a button, I’d have hoped for that one action to produce some variety of sound, but it doesn’t and very soon becomes repetitive – I wanted to mute the game pretty quickly. More gameplay options would have given the chance for more sound options.
This game is described as “free, addictive and by far the most advanced and realistic slot machine for your android device.” If that’s true, I have no interest in playing this style of machine. Whilst it looks alright, there is no variety in sight or sound. There is no game play other than hitting a single button repeatedly and hope. I did play it for a while just to see if any more machines or game modes unlocked but I found nothing. There is not even the pretence of any skill being needed and I shall be uninstalling as soon as I finish writing.
The decision to go Moto
I have been a fan of Android phones since owning the original and awesome G1. Since then I have owned several, but never a nexus and for the last year I have been promising myself I would change that and buy whatever nexus is available come upgrade time. However when that time arrived I was torn. Nexus 5 looks good, but I was also tempted by the z1 and the z1 ultra. When Adrian suggested I wait until the MotoX arrived I looked at it and again was tempted, but in all honesty there is no way I was going to wait for anything…
However thanks to that suggestion I also contemplated the Moto G. It is clearly a budget phone, one look at the specs tells us that there are some clear areas where costs have been cut. Less ram, a slower processor, smaller camera, fewer built in sensors and some features are missing – but does that matter? I looked at the list and decided that for the extra £17 a month the z1 would cost, the extra features were not worth it and by choosing the Moto I would get android upgrades much faster even if not as fast as if I went nexus. Add in the 14 day returns policy on the phone and what did I have to lose?
Well that was back in January and I have now had a few months to try the phone out. First emotion was disappointment that the box did not come with a charger. I had one knocking around from all my other phones, so I guess you could argue it was not needed – but imagine I was coming from an iPhone? I would not have been happy. Other than that though, it is a nice looking phone. It is smaller than I was used to, and with no memory slot for expansion there are limitations from the off but I knew that before I bought it. It did not have KitKat out of the box, but that was available within a couple of weeks so I did not get chance to miss it much.
The phone is inexpensive and therefore the screen is one of the main parts that has been trimmed back. It is not that big by today’s standards and the resolution is lower than many. It is bright and the colour depth is good, and to be honest it looks as clear as any at a usable distance. You have to get pretty close to be able to see the pixels and at that distance I can barely force my eyes to focus on them.
This is another area that is often cut in budget phones. Despite the low cost, the camera is not excellent but is surprisingly good. At 5 megapixels and with a flash, the camera is more than capable of recording your family moments. The controls are slightly different than most android phones. Simply tap anywhere on screen to take the photo instead of having to find a button. The autofocus let’s it down occasionally, but if you take a second to define the focal point by dragging an icon around the screen you can negate this. The burst function (simply hold your finger on the screen to take multiple shots) is very helpful when producing “auto awesome” photos from animations to the selecting of best smiles. Utilising the great features of Google+ photos really help boost the camera’s output.
I was very dubious of the battery life of the Moto G, 2070mAh does not sound a lot – however it became very quickly apparent that it is actually rather good. With a single over night charge, it is more than capable of lasting the following day with moderate use which for me includes leaving syncing enabled, some web use, some Ingress, emailing and navigation during commutes. At the end of my day the phone is usually still showing 30-40% charged. Not too shabby.
All in all, this is a great little phone. I have not yet missed the extra flexibility that I achieved through rooting and installing custom ROMs, although being on the latest version of android helps with that. At a little over £100, it is not so expensive that I couldn’t afford to buy out my contract should a decent nexus or other alternative come out in the next 12 months but as things stand I can not see me needing to. If you must have a super powerful phone that is cutting edge and full of all the bloating apps that Samsung fans seem to crave then this is not for you. If you are looking to save some money or just for a decent phone that can see you through to the next nexus then you could do much worse than this, and I highly recommend this great little phone.
Twitter is well known to be fairly insecure. I was hacked a couple of years ago and even now I still get direct messages from people that they clearly haven’t sent me themselves. In fact Age posted the other day about his recent twitter hacking experience. Twitter was under pressure for a long while to introduce a two-factor authentication but it took them forever – however once they did I enabled it pretty quickly.
For those who have yet to experience it, every time you try to login you get a text message or have to approve the request via the app. I chose the app authentication as although I could post to twitter by sms, I never received my authentication codes. All went well until without thinking properly (or backing up the app…) I wiped my phone and installed a new ROM. Sadly, when installing a new OS on my PC I never follow the advice of creating a backup disc and I treated the advice from twitter with the same disrespect and didn’t save any backup codes. They would have granted my access to my account through the app as before and all would have been well with the world.
As it is, I lost all access to my account. Twitter were pretty good though and within a couple of days, I had followed their instructions. Luckily as I was able to post via sms I could prove I was the account holder and they temporarily removed the two factor authentication and I was able to login – a word of warning though – had I not had the option to post by text then there was no guarantee that they could have got me back in. Their support pages state that if you can not prove account ownership then they will not help you regain access and you are left with only the option of setting up a new account. Whilst that would not have been the end of the world for me, it could be problematic for some so make sure that you do as you are told and generate a backup code.Read More